In today’s competitive environment every sale counts, so here are 5 easy-to-use tips that will help you drive up your sales, and generate happy customers at the same time.
1. When presenting your recommendations, always sell the recommended service… last
If the customer doesn’t feel comfortable with you it will be a challenge to sell repairs and services, so you should always sell yourself first. After the customer is sold on you, you then need to sell them on the technician that is working on their vehicle. This is especially true with every first-time customer, because unless you tell them, they have no idea who will be working on their vehicle or how qualified they are, which will often make them anxious, and hesitant to buy. The third sale you need to make is you need to sell the customer on the value of their vehicle. You can do this by reviewing all of the components that are in good shape, as well as drawing their attention to any recent investments that they have made in the vehicle (paint, tires, struts, brakes, etc.). Only when you have completed the first three sales should you start on the fourth, which is the required services.
2. Focus on the benefits, not the parts and labor
Your customers will have little interest in buying parts and labor, at any cost, but they will be open to paying for the benefits of the service. For example, when selling maintenance, you should explain how the service will help the customer protect their vehicle’s warranty, prevent costly breakdowns, improve their vehicle’s performance, and help them squeeze every mile out of every gallon of gasoline. It will also help them maximize the resale value of their vehicle, and as we all know, a well maintained vehicle is good for the environment, too. Sit down with your techs and create a list of customer benefits for each of your most common services and repairs. If you focus your attention on the benefits of the service, rather than the parts and labor, your sales will go up.
When selling multiple repairs, in many cases the customer will be unable to authorize all the recommended services at the same time. The secret is knowing how to prioritize, and how to do so in a way that builds customer confidence. At Elite we believe you should always put the customer’s initial concerns at the top of the list, right along with any personal safety items. Personal safety items are items like brakes, the driver’s seat belt, headlights, or anything that has to do with the driver’s own safety.
Next on the list would be any items that could have an impact on the safety of others, which include items like brake lights, an exhaust pipe that could fall off and be run over by another vehicle, etc.
Third on the priority list should be items pertaining to the safety of their vehicle, which includes items such as shocks and maintenance.
And the last items you should present to the customer are creature comfort items like air conditioning, and any cosmetic needs. If you use this system to prioritize, you can simply tell the cash-strapped customer something like this: “Well Mary, what’s most important to you is going to be important to me, so let’s take a look at what you brought your vehicle in for, as well as the safety items that Mike discovered. We can help you prioritize the other items, then we can schedule those at a time that’s right for you.” With rare exception, as soon as the customer realizes that you really do understand their financial position, and you have put their safety at the top of your list, you will be on your way to building a better rapport with that customer. With that rapport comes a greater trust in your service recommendations, which makes the selling process go more smoothly and positively impacts your bottom line.
4. Don’t get too technical
There is an expression that has been around since the beginning of time that simply states, “Confused people don’t buy.” This is why you should always be very careful in describing the technical aspects to a customer. If you don’t get technical enough, they will ask for more info, but if you get even a bit too technical, you run the risk of losing the sale.
5. Know your role and responsibility when you stand in front of a customer
As a shop owner, manager, or service advisor, your job is to help people make decisions that they would in many cases have a hard time making on their own. At Elite we don’t view selling through financial eyes, but view it as helping people, which is why you should never pre-judge or pre-qualify. Pre-judging is when we tell ourselves that the customer won’t invest in their vehicle, and pre-qualifying is when we tell ourselves that they don’t have the money to authorize the repairs. Both are huge mistakes when it comes to selling, as when you pre-judge or pre-qualify you are not keeping the customer’s best interest at the forefront. You will also need to ensure that you don’t pre-judge the customer’s vehicle either, as just because you may feel investing a few thousand dollars in a particular vehicle wouldn’t be the right choice for you, it doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be the perfect choice for someone else. If the customer has a vehicle they’ve owned for a while, and if they know it well, they may be hard-pressed to find another vehicle that would be as good as their existing one once they make the added investment. As I’m sure you will agree, the last thing the cash-strapped customer needs is to swap their vehicle that has a few known problems, for a vehicle that may have countless unknown problems.
In closing, Elite has trained tens of thousands of advisors, and countless sales trainers, so this is a promise I can make to you: If you apply these simple tips to your sales procedures, if you believe in your products, your services and your people, and if you live by the principle of never putting money ahead of people, then your sales and your level of customer satisfaction will go straight up.
Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite, a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while having a positive impact on their employees, customers and communities. The company offers one-on-one coaching from the industry’s top shop owners, service advisor training, peer groups, along with sales, marketing and shop management courses. You can learn more about Elite by visiting www.EliteWorldwide.com.